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The Great Depression and the war years brought back a more solid female shape. Breasts came back in style and women no longer tried to flatten their bottoms. The waifish flapper figure wasn’t substantial enough to fit comfortably into a new, tougher reality. Betty Grable, the most popular pinup girl of WW II, epitomized the full-figured, sporty look popularized in Depression-era Hollywood. Hers was a shapely body molded by exercise and clearly well-fed. In a period of economic instability, being ultra-thin was no longer a sign of being fashionable, but a frightening indicator of want. Body size is a moveable feast, and it changes according to cultural flux.
After a long reign of fragile-looking, emaciated models, a strong, athletic form look may be making a comeback. First Lady Michelle Obama’s muscular shape recently graced the cover of Vogue, announcing a new look for the new reality. At the Academy Awards, Kate Winslett was queen of the evening, her gloriously curvaceous figure the envy of all. In interviews she announced – shocker!—that she is too busy to exercise and eats whatever she wants. Oprah Winfrey praised her “real” figure, telegraphing a message to women across American that it’s okay to sport a more natural look. The First Lady and the Academy Award Winner, substantial in both intellect and physicality, flaunt bodies that suggest strength and purpose. They look independent, normal, and accessible. As the cost of tummy tucks and expensive personal trainers becomes prohibitive to many, the culture may be move towards a more organic, natural appearance in women. The style-arbiters of the mainstream media, accustomed to chastising women for every perceived extra pound, warn that we must be extra vigilant as the Recession rages. Glamour.com encourages us not to put on “recession pounds,” noting that an economic downturn may cause us to nosh more frequently on processed foods because of their low cost. Certainly we shouldn’t give up healthy foods in order to keep buying the unnecessary accoutrements of modern living, but perhaps we can relax a bit and focus on maintaining a weight that’s healthy for us as individuals, rather than trying to look like adolescent boys. In the midst of a crisis, women are just too busy to worry about being thin.
--Posted by Lynn Parramore, RecessionWire.com
Recession Briefing: 3.11
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